Russia’s inflation is skyrocketing

Russia’s inflation is skyrocketing
FILE PHOTO: Ears of wheat are seen in a field near the village of Hrebeni in Kyiv region, Ukraine July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo

After the sanctions imposed by the West and the plummeting of the Russian ruble, inflation there is going mad. The country saw inflation go up 2.2% in the week of February 26 and March 4, with Russian citizens already seeing around 9.2% inflation in February. And, economists don’t see it stopping anytime soon, with experts predicting that Russian inflation would surge close to 20% this year.

This is the highest weekly increase the country has seen since at least 2008 when it first started tracking this data.

Prices have gone up on all sorts of things, including cars, electronics, food and health supplies – consequences that average citizens of Russia will likely see in their daily lives soon.

Liam Peach, an emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, said, “The collapse in the ruble in response to the war in Ukraine and imposition of sanctions on Russia will push up inflation significantly in the coming months.”

Peach also said, “This will be compounded by restrictions on international trade and goods shortages. Since 4 March, the ruble has continued to fall and reports of disruption to Russian exports and imports have become more widespread, so this is likely to be just the start of the inflation pressure feeding through.”

And this inflation spike is causing analysts to question whether Russia has some bigger economic problems in store soon. Rating agency Fitch downgraded Russia’s sovereign debt rating to its second-lowest level, saying that a default in the Russian economy is “imminent.”

“The further ratcheting up of sanctions, and proposals that could limit trade in energy, increase the probability of a policy response by Russia that includes at least selective non-payment of its sovereign debt obligations,” said Fitch in a statement.

“The new sanctions imposed by foreign states have entailed a considerable increase in the ruble exchange rate and limited the opportunities for Russia to use its gold and foreign currency reserves," said the head of Russia’s central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, last week.

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